The pass-happy Patriots found a way to break their 11-game losing streak against the Broncos--with a revived running game and a late defensive stand.
Terry Allen rushed for a season-high 106 yards and two touchdowns as New England held off Denver, 24-23, today with its best ground game of the season.
The Patriots (5-2) had last beaten Denver in 1980, when Craig Morton was the Broncos' quarterback. The Patriots' 11-game losing streak against Denver began in 1984, the year after John Elway was the NFL's top draft pick.
New England had lost two in a row after opening with four straight wins. It was its sixth game decided by three points or fewer.
The Broncos (2-5) had their two-game winning streak broken after they started the season at 0-4. On Denver's last two possessions, New England held the Broncos to Jason Elam's third field goal, a 30-yarder, and a 59-yard attempt that fell short with 1 minute 38 seconds left.
"Those posts don't look very big from back there," Elam said. "It was within my range. I've done it before, but I knew it wasn't there."
One week earlier, New England couldn't stop Miami from scoring the winning touchdown with 23 seconds left in the Dolphins' 31-30 win. That's because the Patriots couldn't run well enough to get a late first down and keep the ball.
On Sunday, they rushed for three touchdowns for the first time since Nov. 3, 1996, when Curtis Martin scored all three against Miami. Their 133 yards rushing were their most in nine games.